High-tech student projects impress industry

Michael Mohler presents his project, Dryer Reminder, during Thursday’s Technology Capstone Showcase at the Cyber ​​Center of Excellence.

Story of Lana Sweeten-Shults
Pictures of Ralph Freso
GCU News Desk

Projects in the showcase ranged from an on-campus golf cart tracker to a student nutrition monitoring web application to a voice-activated music player called PiTunes.

Michael Mohler: Multitasking master.

That’s why he doesn’t always hear his dryer’s alarm as he wades through rooms far away from his house.

“If you’re like me, you’re quite a distance from your house dryer, and if you have a bunch of other things going on, it’s nice to get a notification to know when the dryer is done,” said the Grand Canyon University software development student, who tackled a daily puzzle from home and, like the more than 100 students showcasing their work at Thursday’s Technology Capstone Showcase, got his hands dirty trying to solve his laundry problem.

“I always wanted this solution, and every time I did laundry I always thought, ‘I hate having to constantly check the dryer. I wish someone would do something. I guess someone had to be me,” Mohler said with a smile of his project, Dryer Reminder.

What Mohler did was take a credit card-sized computer called a raspberry pi and place an accelerometer in it, which measures the acceleration of a structure’s motion. He then used an Android app to communicate with the raspberry pi. When the accelerometer detects a lack of movement on the dryer, it sends a notification to the user’s phone so that person knows the dryer is finished.

Mohler uses Dryer Reminder at home all the time.

“I literally pull out my device and my family is like, ‘Oh, are you still testing your device?'”

No, he tells them, he just likes to use it.

“I love it. I literally use it every day.

Computer Science Senior Andrew Goodman demonstrates his Virtual Reality Operating System (VROS).

That wasn’t the only problem solved at the annual Technology Capstone Showcase, when students from the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, after months of coding and testing, CAPTCHA creation, web development and, throwing in a bit of engineering for good measure, looked up from their computers and pitched their college graduation plans – their kind of graduation ticket, to only two weeks.

Tech students showcased nearly 50 projects with little space to move around in the tech building’s crowded Cyber ​​Center of Excellence, with tables of students spilling out into the adjacent hallway to share those projects with the campus community and with members of industry as well.

Guests saw everything from a Dryer Reminder to a live interactive report on US government spending and budgets, to a voice-activated music player called PiTunes (it also uses a raspberry pi), to virtual reality simulations that provide therapy to a GCU student nutrition monitoring web application.

“It’s an incredible variety of projects, which is wonderful, because it (the technology synthesis process) really allows students to choose what they want to focus on and dive deep into it,” said the assistant dean of technology. Dr. Brandy Harris. “Their enthusiasm…it’s wonderful, palpable, you can walk around and feel it.”

Added Dr. Pam RowlandAssociate Dean of Computing and Technology, “What impressed me the most was the creativity and how the students took what they learned and solved a real-world problem, often as a group, where they worked as a team to really create something valuable that they could contribute to the industry,”

Computer science, computer programming, computer science, cybersecurity, and software development majors presented their work.

The problem the Robot XD team worked on was how to get the world of robotics into the hands of ordinary people who aren’t necessarily computer savvy and might not have a lot of money to spend for technology.

The team not only created a functional, artificially intelligent robot with the ability to hear, speak and move freely, but also developed an open-source robot kit so users could imitate what the team created.

Member of the Robot XD team Jonathan Lopez Valdez said, “It’s very easy to spend thousands of dollars on a robot. A robot like this could cost you $3,000. But we can do it for $600. It just shows that you are capable of doing it without necessarily having a big wallet.

Lopez Valdez worked with the team members Kevin Ahlstrom, Luis Pena Espinoza and Abdulmalik Bawa since last summer to create the robot.

“We’re computer science majors, but a lot of the work that goes into it isn’t necessarily computer-related,” Lopez Valdez said. “A lot of the wiring, those go with the engineering.”

“So you learned a lot?” asked one participant.

“To put it lightly, yes,” Lopez Valdez said.

The IT/cybersecurity team at Stratis has created a web-based prototype in which the students want to allow photographers to share their work in a secure way, with great attention to copyright.

“How many times have you been on Instagram and seen a photo and then seen that same photo somewhere else?” asked Orion Zakaswho worked with IT/cyber classmates Andrew Penrod, Emilia’s houses, Jesse Rittenhouse, Jessica Varea, Nissi Enriquez and Preston Sanders on the project.

“You don’t really know who it is, so our goal is to protect that and have people post their photos and have a profile with all their photos to promote their business,” Zakas said.

Tristan Janisse and his team have created a virtual piano that uses software to search websites for song files.

A group of computer science majors have designed a virtual piano that can play a seemingly endless number of songs. The software searches websites for a song file and loads it into a cross-platform game engine called Unity, which then prompts the virtual piano to play the song.

Not that the team didn’t hit sour notes.

Tristan Janisse said the team wanted to incorporate tactile gloves so users could feel like playing a real piano.

“But we encountered constraints and problems with that, so we decided to create a player piano in virtual reality instead,” said Janisse, who worked with other students. ryan jones, Tyler Williams and Stephen Blake Sanders.

Three of them play an instrument and they finally want to run the software on a real player piano.

“In the summer we actually go,” Jones said. “The software would all be the same. Instead of pressing a virtual key, you would have robots doing it for you. »

Jeanna Maye Benitez explains her LionQ app to GCU President Brian Mueller.

Senior in software development Jeanna Maye Benitez used Java, Spring Boot, MySQL, Azure, WebSocket, and SockJS to create a social hub called LionQ, named after one of his favorite movies, “The Lion King” (the “Q” stands for “Queen”) .

On the web app, users can interact with each other through messaging and can create, update, list, search, and delete posts. She was inspired by Facebook, she says, to create LionQ.

But, “I kind of wanted to do something more positive,” Benitez said, and shared that idea, somewhat nervously, with the GCU president. Brian Müller, one of the guests of the event. “I wanted to do something that helps communities.”

If she had more time, she said she would be more specific in her audience, such as creating LionQ for educational institutions so “they can help each other and just connect with each other.”

Benitez, who spent the fall semester mapping out LionQ and the spring semester building it, said of his project, “It’s a lot of work, but it pays off.”

More than 100 GCU tech students shared nearly 50 capstone projects at the crowded Cyber ​​Center of Excellence.

The packed showcase was a home site for the college, which has presented the event virtually for the past two years due to COVID-19. The scale of the event, organized in partnership with GCU Strategic Employer Initiatives and Internships, is a testament to the growth of the technology program.

“When I arrived (in 2015) it was really the beginning, and I had five students in a class,” said Lydia Fritz, Assistant Professor in Computer Science/Computer Programming. “Now I have several sections, so it has grown and the students just keep getting better” – the student industry is looking to hire.

“Our faculty has done an amazing job building relationships with industry partners,” said Rowland, in her first year as associate dean. “Some of these signature projects come from industry partners. All of these relationships that were built over these years, before I came to GCU, have developed this program.

Salvatore Parascandola (right) explains his “Rich Purnell Maneuver” circuit board clock to Prime Solutions Group software engineer Tim Wiley (left) and human resources associate/recruiter Jackie Tautimez (center).

Recruiter/Human Resources Recruiter Jackie Tautimez of Prime Solutions Group experienced the Technology Capstone Showcase for the first time in person after two years of virtual sessions.

“These are very interesting projects and very smart students,” said Tautimez, whose company just hired four GCU students as interns and hired former University interns as software engineers. beginners.

GCU students will be happy to keep getting their hands dirty for these kinds of prospects.

Senior Writer Lana Sweeten-Shults can be reached at [email protected] or 602-639-7901.


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